New WARN Video Helps Debunk Myths

Taking a lighthearted approach, EPA has developed a video that takes a look at some of the myths that surround the WARN program (Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network).  State security coordinators should take a look and then share the video with their water systems and assistance providers who may work with folks who still are unsure about the value of WARN.

To view the video, click here.  Click this link for more information about mutual aid and assistance through WARN programs.

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Tabletop Exercise Tool for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA’s Water Security Division has just updated the Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Tool for drinking water and wastewater utilities.  The TTX tool provides users with the resources to plan, conduct and evaluate tabletop exercises. The 2018 version of the TTX tool contains 12 customizable all-hazards scenarios (e.g., natural disasters, man-made incidents) that will assist utilities to practice, test and help improve emergency response plans and procedures.

To download the TTX tool (zip file) and view the different scenarios, click here.

EPA WSD Shares Earthquake Response Tools

Today, EPA has released three tools that drinking water and wastewater utilities can use to prepare for and respond to the impacts of earthquakes. These products include:

 

  • Earthquake Resilience Video
  • Earthquake Resilience Guide, and
  • Earthquake Interactive Maps.

The video, guide and maps were developed to help utilities identify if they are located in earthquake hazard areas, encourages them to take steps to understand the potential earthquake impacts, and provides actions on how to address potential risks.

Downloads of the three new tools and more information on earthquake resilience is available at: https://www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/earthquake-resilience-water-and-wastewater-utilities

 

Enhancing Cyber Hygiene

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) hosted a webinar to share cyber threat and resilience information.  Several of the cyber hygiene recommendations offered during the web event may be helpful as you work with water systems to enhance their ability to provide safe drinking water.

One particular aspect of the webinar focused on trends that NCCIC analysts are seeing in the field related to cyber hygiene.  Practical corrective actions and recommended next steps were also discussed.  The trends fall into five major areas:

  • Continued use of End of Life (EOL) network devices – those that are no longer supported by vendor patches and devices that are not being replaced during update/tech refresh cycles.
  • Default/weak security configurations – use of default or weak credentials, devices put onto networks with “out of the box” configurations, or no implementation of vendor/government device hardened guidance
  • Use of unsecure/unencrypted remote access protocols – administrator access directly over the internet or external use of FTP/TFTP.
  • Poor security monitoring – lack of visibility for administrator access, device logging not implemented, or lack of visibility of configuration changes to network devices.
  • Continued reliance on the old “network operations” mentality – network device security monitoring is secondary to the operations tasks.

The discussions surrounding the above categories were not directed specifically toward water utilities; however, most would easily apply to any utility with a SCADA system.  The presentations also included information about the NCCIC and its role within DHS, broad discussions of cyber threats and exposures, and a separate section on the Federal response.  The complete powerpoint presentation is available at this link.  You are encouraged to share these materials with your colleagues in the water community.

Environmental Finance Center Network Hosts Two Useful Small System Webinars

EFCN Partners Host Several Useful Small Systems Webinars

The Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) receives funds from EPA to provide information and assistance for small systems.  While most of their efforts look within a system’s technical, managerial, or financial capabilities, the two webinars below look at planning and resilience efforts.

Managing Disasters Before Disasters Strike

DATE:              Wednesday, October 10, 2018

TIME:               1:00PM-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will explore emergency management and resilience strategies that can help small systems prepare for disasters. Discussions will cover trends in hazards, critical infrastructure stressors, and what steps small systems can take to adapt to an uncertain future.

Risk and Resilience: Assessing Vulnerability for Coastal Communities

DATE:              Friday, November 2, 2018

TIME:               1:00PM-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

In light of an ever-changing climate and increasingly stressed infrastructure, we must take steps towards preventing and mitigating the duration and severity of water service interruptions. This webinar will discuss the importance of understanding risk, explore what it means to be a resilient coastal system, and suggest strategies for conducting basic vulnerability assessments.

Quarterly Newsletter – EPA Water Security Division

Our EPA colleagues have several interactive opportunities that you may be interested in:

  1. Hurricane – Be Ready!

EPA has developed tools to help water utilities prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricane-related impacts. Check out our incident action checklist and other free resources…and remember to heed watches and warnings issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.  Want to know more?  Click here

  1. Water Sector Power and Black Sky Resilience Summit

On September 19, EPA is hosting a one-day Water Sector Power and Black Sky Resilience Summit in Herndon, VA to discuss and advance the water sector’s preparedness for a long duration, widespread power outage.

There will be presentations and discussions on black sky threats, generators, alternative power options, microgrids, critical interdependencies, and communications. The focus will be on some of the challenges and potential solutions to a long duration power outage. The target audience is drinking water and wastewater utilities, water and energy associations, electric utilities, and local, state, and federal government agencies. To participate in person Register Here  If you are outside the DC metropolitan area and are interested in participating in a webcast of the event, please send an email to Lauren Wisniewski at wisniewski.lauren@epa.gov.

  1. Webinar – Customer Complaint Surveillance for Detecting Drinking Water Contamination

DATE:              September 11, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTRATION:  Register Here

This webinar will describe how water quality complaints from customers can be analyzed in real time to detect emerging water quality problems. It will describe methods and tools that can be used to analyze historical data to set thresholds that minimize the frequency of invalid alerts without compromising detection capabilities.

  1. Webinar – Public Health Surveillance for Detecting Drinking Water Contamination

 DATE:              October 9, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTRATION:           Register Here

This webinar will discuss the role that public health partners can play in detecting and responding to drinking water contamination incidents.  It will provide an overview of common public health partners as well as the types of surveillance they perform.  Examples of the application of public health surveillance to monitor for water contamination incidents will be presented.  There will also be a discussion of roles and responsibilities during a joint water utility/public health agency investigation of possible water contamination.

  1. Webinar – Response Planning for Distribution System Contamination Incidents

 DATE:              November 6, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTRATION:           Register Here

This webinar will provide an overview of the response to a distribution system contamination incident and the steps utilities can take to prepare their own response procedure. It will cover roles and responsibilities when working with response partners. The webinar will also discuss possible response actions that can be implemented to minimize consequences, such as operational changes to reduce the spread of contaminated water and public notification to minimize customers’ exposure to contaminated water.

WSD Webinar Reminders – Hurricanes and Customer Complaints

Our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division are hosting two webinars in the coming weeks that may be of interest to you.  See below for details and feel free to share these opportunities with colleagues and water systems.

Puerto Rico Water and Sewer Authority’s Response to Hurricane Maria

DATE:              August 8, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      https://epa-puerto-rico-webinar.eventbrite.com

 During this webinar, Eli Diaz-Atienza, President of Puerto Rico’s Water and Sewer Authority (PRASA) will describe how the utility was impacted by the loss of power caused by Hurricane Maria. At its peak, PRASA was using 1,610 generators at its 114 drinking water plants, 51 wastewater plants, and pump stations. During the webinar, Diaz-Atienza will discuss some of the challenges with operating, maintaining, and fueling the generators. The webinar will also summarize some of the lessons learned and plans for increasing PRASA’s resilience.

Customer Complaint Surveillance for Detecting Drinking Water Contamination

DATE:              September 11, 2018

TIME:               1:00 PM EDT

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6501680928031531778

This webinar will describe how water quality complaints from customers can be analyzed in real time to detect emerging water quality problems. It will describe methods and tools that can be used to analyze historical data to set thresholds that minimize the frequency of invalid alerts without compromising detection capabilities.

AWWA Offers Emergency Preparedness & Response Video DVD

Our colleagues at AWWA have developed a DVD/video that covers key emergency preparedness requirements to help water utilities establish an acceptable level of emergency preparedness based on both identified and perceived risks.  It steps you through eight basic activities that include elements ranging from commitment to preparedness to risk assessments to training and partnerships.

This link takes you to the AWWA webpage that offers a preview of the video, information about its content, and an order form.  The cost is $199 (for AWWA members) and $285 for others.  States may find this useful as a training tool.

 

EPA WSD to Host ‘Analysis of Online Water Quality Data’ Webinar

Registration is now available for the next webinar in the “Water Quality Surveillance and Response” series hosted by EPA’s Water Security Division.

DATE:              August 14, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

Two presentations will be offered during the web event.  The first will describe methods for conducting an exploratory analysis of historical water quality data collected from a water distribution system using online monitoring instruments. The second will describe how source water constituents of concern can be estimated in near-real-time using continuous water-quality data.  Representatives from EPA and USGS will lead the discussions.

This flyer contains more information about the event and the presentations.  SRS Webinar Series_August Webinar_Email Flyer 07052018

EPA WSD Water Quality Data Analysis Webinar

Our colleagues in EPA’s Water Security Division (WSD) are hosting a webinar – Analysis of Online Water Quality Data next month.

DATE:              August 14, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

The first half of this webinar will describe methods for conducting an exploratory analysis of historical water quality data collected from a water distribution system using online monitoring instruments. The second half will describe how source water constituents of concern can be estimated in near-real-time using continuous water-quality data. The basic data collection requirements and statistical methods needed to develop these relations will be discussed. Examples of this work from existing USGS studies will be presented, including the use of continuous water-quality data to estimate abundancies of cyanobacteria and associated toxins on the Kansas River.